Does your facility rely on diesel-powered emergency generators? If so, you may want to have a conversation with your fuel vendor and generator service provider about the use of biodiesel in today’s diesel fuel blends.
As a little background…
B100 is 100% biodiesel, and covered under ASTM standard D6751. Petroleum-based diesel fuel is covered under the ASTM D975 standard. In efforts to reduce engine emissions, diesel blends containing some percentage of biodiesel are now common in the marketplace.
Blends of B5 or less are now incorporated into the original ASTM D975 diesel fuel standard. This means that up to 5% biodiesel can be blended into No. 2 diesel without any special labeling requirement. B20 is the most common blend in the United States, and it (as well as any blend between B6 and B20) must meet quality standards as listed under ASTM D7467. Any blend higher than B5 must be labeled as such.
Why should you care?
While B5-B20 biodiesel blends have little or no compatibility issues with industrial diesel engines (see OEM statements), biodiesel can have real negative effects on your fuel storage.
The reason for this is that biodiesel has a higher absorption rate for water. In a vented fuel storage tank, with little fuel turnover, moisture absorption can lead to a higher incidence of bacterial growth inside the tank. As covered in this article, if the bacteria problem is not addressed, you can expect clogged filters, fuel injectors, and the eventual damage to steel tanks by microbial-induced corrosion.
For more information on concerns related to biodiesel, please see these resources: